I have a "We the People" petition up on the White House website to decrease the US government funding to the ITU from $11M/year to the minimum $22K/year and minimize the USG head-count at meetings, with all of the reclaimed resources going to support Internet governance and diplomacy supporting the multistakeholder Internet governance model. The net effect would be a 7.7% reduction in the ITU's member-contributed revenue, or 6% in their overall budget (which is also supported through the sale of documents and increasingly by withdrawals from their reserves). A $11M/year reduction in the ITU's budget will have far less effect on the ITU than an $11M/year increase in support of Internet governance, so this is less about punishing the ITU than it is about sensibly redirecting funding toward constructive goals and processes. It's simply not sensible for us to be financing both sides of this fight.
Germany, France, Spain, and Finland have already reduced their funding to the ITU, as have a number of major corporations that used to be sector members. If all 55 of the countries that stood with the Internet at the WCIT follow suit, the ITU's member contributions will be reduced by 74%, and everyone will have a lot more time and attention to spend on productive work.
Please consider signing the petition. 25,000 signatures are needed to move it forward, and give the State Department the public mandate they need to act.
By Bill Woodcock, Research Director, Packet Clearing House
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